GlaxoSmithKline Lifts Dividend 6% to Yield 4.5%

LONDON -- The shares of GlaxoSmithKline  (LSE: GSK  ) (NYSE: GSK  ) were flat at 1,676 pence early this afternoon after the FTSE pharmaceutical giant lifted its first-quarter dividend by 6%.

Glaxo declared a dividend of 18 pence per share for the quarter, compared to 17 pence per share last year.

The company reported sales had declined 2% to 6.4 billion pounds during January, February and March, which reflected the disposal of 17 over-the-counter products since last year. Quarterly profits dropped 26% to 1.6 billion pounds.

Glaxo said it expected core EPS growth of between 3% and 4%, and turnover growth of around 1%, during 2013.

The firm added that it would target share repurchases of between 1 billion pounds and 2 billion pounds next year as well.

Glaxo also confirmed a restructure of its research and development activities remained on course to deliver total annual savings of 1 billion pounds by 2016.

Chief executive Sir Andrew Witty commented:

This quarter marks continued strategic delivery for GSK with sales and earnings in line with our expectations, significant pipeline progress and further growth in our returns to shareholders through a 6% increase in the dividend. We are also announcing additional measures to improve the Group's focus and long term growth profile.

Sir Andrew also revealed Glaxo is to put its Lucozade and Ribena drinks brands up for sale. He said a strategic review of the products had concluded "the tremendous growth potential of these iconic brands" could be "better leveraged" by other companies.

Glaxo is currently valued at 14 times expected earnings and offers a trailing twelve-month dividend yield of 4.5%.

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